Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre
project update
Why are we doing this?
The Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre was closed in November 2017 following a seismic assessment which identified it was earthquake prone. This coincided with the completion of a detailed business case to refurbish the building into a venue that provides contemporary performing arts spaces and facilities, optimises its community value and adds to the vibrancy of our city.
Work on seismic strengthening and refurbishment of this category one heritage building is expected to start towards the end of 2019 following completion of the comprehensive design work currently underway.

The completed project will transform the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre from just a building to a facility capable of offering the range of shows and experiences expected from a regional performing arts centre. 

The design will restore and enhance the building’s two heritage wings, connecting them through a new floating roof, giving the Centre a contemporary feel through the use of warm wood features, reflecting Council’s wood-first policy.

The redevelopment will include refurbishment of the building's interior and exterior, restoration of heritage features, external landscaping and lighting.

Foyer - This modern space will incorporate stories of Te Arawa and Ngāti Whakaue, with the legacy of Sir Howard Morrison also recognised in the space.

Concert Chamber - Will become a flexible performance space able to seat from 100 to 300 people.

Civic Theatre - The capacity will be increased to 950+ seats, with enhanced acoustics and air conditioning. The orchestra pit and stage apron will be extended.
$22.5million has been secured for the strengthening and refurbishment of the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre, meaning this project I snow fully funding.

The work to upgrade the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre into a fit-for-purpose performance venue will include core seismic strengthening as well as improved functionality.

Council has committed $11.5million towards the project, and a total of $11.0million has been raised externally, bringing the total committed project funding to $22.5million.

Funding support for the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts centre has come from:

- Rotorua Lakes Council $11.5m
- NZ Lottery Grants Board $5.2m ($4.0m Lottery Significant Projects Fund, $750,000 Lottery Community Facilities Fund and $450,000 Lottery Environment & Heritage Fund)
- Glenn Family Foundation $3.0m
- Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust $1.5m
- NZCT $1.0m
- Ngāti Whakaue Trusts $150,000
- One Foundation $125,000
Was it necessary to close the building?
The detailed seismic assessment of the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre put the building in the earthquake prone category which makes it a high risk building should there be a seismic event. The safety of the public and staff is our priority. Regardless, we would not be able to work around the remedial work which is now required.

When will the Centre reopen? 
The Centre is scheduled to reopen in 2021.

How much will it cost to fix the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre?
The total project budget is $22.5 million and is now fully funded. Council has committed $11.5 million towards the seismic strengthening of the Centre, with the balance of $11.0million secured from external funding partners.
How did this impact staff at the facility?
There were seven staff based at SHMPAC who have been redeployed to the Energy Events Centre during the closure.

What are the outcomes of this project?
○  Strengthen Rotorua’s rich and diverse performing arts by providing a venue that can showcase all forms of performance, create vibrancy and optimise use of the Centre
○  Strengthen the building for earthquake stability, providing safe access for our performers, audiences and staff
○  Create a fit-for-purpose venue that encourages wide use and enables the presentation of high quality performing arts for Rotorua locals and visitors

What are the benefits of this project?
○  Enriched creative experiences for our performers and audiences
○  Increased use of the facility by performing arts groups
○  Quality performance spaces that enable a diverse mix of shows
○  Affordable performance spaces for local organisations and smaller touring companies
○  Provide the Bay of Plenty with a venue capable of attracting and hosting larger commercial shows that the region currently misses out on
○  A variety of entertainment options for locals and visitors
○  Reflect Rotorua’s unique identity through rich arts, diverse performance and Māori culture
○  Support Vision 2030 – strong culture, easy lifestyle and diverse opportunities

Should we be concerned about other Council buildings?
No. An audit of all major public council buildings was completed some time ago. Earthquake strengthening work has already been completed on Te Aka Mauri – Rotorua Library on Haupapa Street and the iSite on Fenton Street. Rotorua Museum will remain closed until strengthening and restoration is complete.
These buildings were all identified some time ago as being an earthquake risk under legislation introduced following the Christchurch earthquakes.
Buildings deemed to be a risk require further assessment to ascertain whether they are earthquake-prone and therefore require remedial work.
Construction methodology has changed, and so has legislation in terms of required standards, which has impacted on the safety rating of many buildings around the country. As a result, a number of public Council-owned buildings have closed around New Zealand.

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